Acknowledging the blood, sweat & tears that went into making a head explode on film, among other things.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Long Weekend

A long weekend approaches me. I will be in the process of moving so my posts may be a little sporadic. (more so than usual)

In the meantime, here are some fantastic matte paintings done by the legendary Albert Whitlock...

100% CGI FREE! How many can you name?












Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Walking Dead

AMC's The Walking Dead which will premiere in October is something I've been wating for for almost seven years now. I can only hope that the effects on the show will all be practical, but for budgetary reasons, esspecially for a TV series, that doesn't seem feasable.

It looks like they putting the non CGI effects to good use though. The zombie craze just got a new life again thanks to these guys...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Incredible Feats of Pre-CGI Ingenuity: “SB19”

The shot was called “SB19”. The 19th shot in the final space battle of Return of the Jedi (1983). The amount of designing and physical rendering of this piece was literally exhausting. Ken Ralston and his team at ILM were told by Lucas to make an eye popping and spectacular shot. I think they pulled off a little more than that.

As you can see in this video from a BBC documentary, Ralston, though thoroughly drained, had a great sense of accomplishment when it was all said and done, even though the scene lasted for only three seconds.

Sure, CGI could simplify all of this, but watch the space battle in Jedi compared to the confusing mess of a chase scene at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith(or was it Attack of the Clones? I seriously can’t remember!) and tell me which one has more heart.

One left you in awe while the other left you looking down in your box of Milk Duds trying to pry that last one out and then asking the person sitting next to you if they know what is going on because this space chase scene makes no sense and you know it’s supposed to establish that Anakin is an ace pilot, but the amount of shit that has been presented on the screen makes it unwatchable, like mixing every color of paint together to create the color diarrhea but you know the diarrhea must have a point so you look closer and closer but all you see is more diarrhea…

Anywho… hats off to Ralston and team for photographing one hell of a space battle. It actually holds up so well that Lucas didn’t really add anymore garbage to it in the Special Editions. For Lucas to hold back like that, it’s saying a lot.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sorry, We Can't Do That Anymore #1: "Q: The Winged Serpent"

Larry Cohen's 1982 film "Q: The Winged Serpent" is a perfect example of how far we have come in filmmaking... and by "how far we have come" I mean, "how less creative we have become".

Principal photography lasted 10 days. No bluescreen... no nets... all the actors & crew actually had to climb up New York's Chrysler Building and perform. Apparently, the arial photography wasn't traditionally shot for stop motion placement so animator David Allen (Laserblast, Freaked, Equinox) had to work around that.

When all was said & done, the film was a success at the box office further proving Cohen's talent and ambition can win over audiences.

Sadly, David Allen passed away from cancer in 1999, but his work lives on in many spectacular CGI-free works.

Monday, August 2, 2010


There is a new and dangerous epidemic sweeping the Republic of Uganda. Now that the HIV spread has been quelled, a fast growing and more lethal threat to the people has emerged. The Ugandan film commission had unearthed and discovered CGI.

May God have mercy on their souls.